Dell wants to extend I-795 to boost Carroll economy Plan includes industrial area

February 21, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Carroll Commissioner Donald I. Dell has a three-in-one idea for the county, and he's out to convince residents it's a good one.

He says his plan would help attract business, save landfill space and ease traffic jams.

It's expensive, of course, and he's not sure where the money would come from. But he believes that it's worth pursuing, and he's telling community groups about it.

Here's his plan: Extend Interstate 795 from Baltimore County through Carroll County, develop an industrial corridor along Route 140 near Finksburg, and build an incinerator at the

Northern Landfill outside Westminster.

"It makes a nice long-range plan for this part of Carroll County," Mr. Dell said.

It would be at least 12 years before any part of his plan would be built, he said.

In Mr. Dell's plan, an I-795 extension would eliminate planned bypasses around Hampstead, Manchester and Westminster.

Hampstead and Manchester have been fighting for relief from heavy traffic on Route 30 for at least 25 years.

bTC "If it would eliminate the bypass, I wouldn't be in favor of it," Manchester Mayor Tim Warehime said.

Mr. Dell proposes building I-795 parallel to Route 140 with three interchanges -- at Finksburg, near routes 27 and 482, and at Route 97and New Bachman Valley Road.

His current map shows the extension stopping at Route 97, but (( he said he would like to see it continue into Pennsylvania and connect to Route 15.

The road would not be close enough to Route 30 to alleviate the traffic problem in Manchester, Mr. Warehime said.

Pennsylvania residents traveling to Baltimore on Route 30 aren't likely to add almost 10 miles to their trip by using Route 27 to cut over to I-795, he said.

"I just don't think people would use it. I'd like to see the bypass," Mr. Warehime said.

Mr. Dell said he thinks that drivers would cut over on Route 27 at Manchester because they would know traffic would be heavy in Hampstead.

The state already has purchased land to widen the stretch of Route 27 between Manchester and Westminster from two to four lanes, he said.

Hampstead Mayor C. Clinton Becker said an I-795 extension is a good idea, but said the road would help his town more if it were built closer to Route 30.

Craig Forrest, Baltimore County transportation coordinator, said planners in his county also see more of a need to put an I-795 extension parallel to Route 30.

The proposed Hampstead-Manchester bypass would start south of Houcksville Road on Route 30, bypass both towns and reconnect to Route 30 near Ebbvale Road.

Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown said he's glad Mr. Dell is taking the lead in talking about an I-795 extension. "I think the idea has merit," he said.

The new road would not help alleviate traffic congestion on Route 140 in Westminster, and a Westminster bypass still would need to be built, Mr. Brown said.

But the city isn't in the best position to receive money for that project, he said.

With three bypasses competing for state money, Mr. Brown speculated that Hampstead and Manchester would have better chances of receiving money because County Commissioner Julia W. Gouge is a former mayor of Hampstead and Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy is a former Manchester mayor.

"It's a struggle for funds," Mr. Brown said.

The Westminster bypass would begin south of the city near Reese Road, cross Route 27 near Lucabaugh Mill Road and reconnect to Route 140 near Hughes Shop Road.

Mr. Dell said it wouldn't take long for a Westminster bypass to become "contaminated" with shopping centers, which would mean I-795 still would be needed. Why not just build I-795, he suggested.

In August, Mr. Dell wrote Gov. William Donald Schaefer a letter about his idea to extend the interstate, and he presented his plan to state transportation officials at a meeting in Westminster in October.

The governor wrote Mr. Dell that the project would be hard to pursue because of lack of money, environmental impact and concerns about growth. The governor wrote that it was premature to pursue the idea.

At the October meeting, State Highway Administrator Hal Kassoff told Mr. Dell that the idea was "worthy of being looked at." Mr. Dell said he hasn't heard from the state since.

SHA spokeswoman Valerie Burnette said an I-795 extension is not in the state's short- or long-range plans, but it would be discussed by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council.

Mr. Dell said he plans to present his idea to the council, a regional group that is studying transportation and land-use issues.

He also will discuss it at a March 22 meeting of the county's Transportation Advisory Council.

Mr. Dell acknowledged that finding money to build the road could be a problem and offered two alternatives.

The county could find a group of investors to build the road and collect tolls.

When the road was paid off in 30 or 40 years, the investors could turn the road over to the county or state, he said. Or the state could sell bonds and charge tolls to pay off the bonds, he said.

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